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Article
Publication date: 12 January 2018

Nigel Hemmington, Peter Beomcheol Kim and Cindie Wang

Importance-performance analysis (IPA) is an effective tool for firms to prioritise service quality attributes, but has limitations in evaluating and enhancing service…

Abstract

Purpose

Importance-performance analysis (IPA) is an effective tool for firms to prioritise service quality attributes, but has limitations in evaluating and enhancing service quality within a competitive environment. The purpose of this paper is to present an evolved model of IPAimportance-performance benchmark vectors (IPBV) – as a benchmarking tool and investigate its applicability in the context of hotel service quality.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical studies based on self-completion survey data from 150 customers of two full-service hotels in Taiwan were conducted in to examine the practical utility of IPBV.

Findings

Eight key benchmark typologies were identified and expressed as vectors in the IPBV model which are as follows: “sustainable advantage”, “potential strength”, “false advantage or outstanding advantage”, “cease-fire competition”, “false disadvantage or on-hand disadvantage”, “potential weakness”, “dangerous warning” and “head-on competition”.

Research limitations/implications

The paper extends the methodology to more cases, and other service industries to test further the discriminatory power of the model and to explore the descriptors in the IPBV vector model. Alternative seven-point or nine-point Likert scales could be explored to test the discriminant validity using means. The alternative IPA diagonal approach focussing on GAP analysis may reveal alternative interpretations for the IPBV vector model. Other extended models of IPA, which include competitor analysis, should be compared in practice using a data set where both quantitative and qualitative data could be generated.

Practical implications

The paper proposes the two-dimensional IPBV model which retains the advantages of IPA, but also includes competitor or benchmark comparisons which enable organisations to analyse their relative competitive position. The two-part model provides both quantitative information and qualitative interpretation of relativities. The graphical matrix models provide simple quantitative analysis of attributes, whilst the IPBV vector model provides qualitative interpretations of the eight competitive market positions. Vector analysis enables the development of competitive strategies relative to benchmarks, or within a competitive set. Importance is retained and means that organisations can benchmark against a range of competitors prioritising specific attributes for resource allocation.

Social implications

The interpretive utility of the model should be explored with practitioners and decision makers in the service industries. The model has been designed for practical use in industry to inform operational and strategic decision making, its usefulness in practice should be explored and the attitudes of practitioners to the model should be tested.

Originality/value

Traditional approaches to benchmarking have adopted a one-dimensional approach that does not include a measure of the relative importance of the service quality dimensions in specific markets. This research develops a two-dimensional advanced model of IPA, called IPBV, which is based on vector relationships between key attributes of service quality. These vectors are explored and described in competitive terms and the model is discussed with regard to its implications for industry, practitioners and researchers.

Details

Journal of Service Theory and Practice, vol. 28 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2055-6225

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Article
Publication date: 16 November 2010

Gérson Tontini and Jaime Dagostin Picolo

The purpose of this paper is to present the improvement gap analysis (IGA), a simple method to direct improvement opportunities in services that overcomes limitations of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present the improvement gap analysis (IGA), a simple method to direct improvement opportunities in services that overcomes limitations of the traditional IPA regarding excitement and basic attributes.

Design/methodology/approach

The proposed method is theoretically developed and simulated. The theoretical simulation explains why IGA overcomes limitations of the traditional importance performance analysis (IPA) and how it could identify the impact of excitement innovative attributes. A case study with 287 customers of supermarkets was used to empirically test IGA and compare it to IPA.

Findings

The case study confirmed that the traditional IPA may lead to wrong improvement decisions for basic and excitement attributes. It happens because IPA is based on current attributes' performance and considers the relationship between attribute performance and customer satisfaction as a linear one. Also, it cannot identify the impact of excitement innovative attributes on customer satisfaction. Using only information about the company's customers, IGA could differentiate neutral from excitement attributes in the case study and, differently from IPA, it correctly identified improvement decisions for basic and excitement attributes.

Research limitations/implications

Although IGA can theoretically distinguish between excitement innovative and neutral attributes, the case study presented in the paper did not test any innovative attribute. All attributes were already experimented or known by the subjects. Future research should empirically test IGA's real capability to identify excitement innovative attributes.

Practical implications

Managers should be aware that IPA may lead to wrong improvement decisions. It may leave excitement attributes unnoticed or direct the company to the improvement of basic attributes that already have adequate performance. IGA can be a good substitute for IPA with the additional advantage that it does not need information about competitors in the analysis. Also, since service quality evaluation depends heavily on customer perception, IGA is particularly suitable to this industry, but it could also be used for product improvement.

Originality/value

The literature presents several papers discussing IPA's problems. Some papers present the possible decision errors of IPA when dealing with excitement and basic attributes. Fewer have tried to propose methods to overcome these problems. This paper confirms the problems of IPA and presents a simple method that overcomes these limitations, distinguishing between excitement and neutral attributes. Also, because it does not use information about competitors, it can be easily used by companies that have difficulties in gathering such information.

Details

Managing Service Quality: An International Journal, vol. 20 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0960-4529

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2014

Gerson Tontini and Jaime Dagostin Picolo

This paper aims to present and compare a new method, improvement gap analysis (IGA), with two different versions of importance-performance analysis (IPA) – original IPA

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to present and compare a new method, improvement gap analysis (IGA), with two different versions of importance-performance analysis (IPA) – original IPA and diagonal IPA – focusing on how each method evaluates the possible impact of incremental innovations on customer satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Two studies were carried out, one with users of mobile phones and another with users of a fitness centre. Mobile phone users answered questions about 24 attributes, of which six were incremental innovations at the time of the research. Users of the fitness centre answered questions about 16 attributes, of which three were incremental innovations.

Findings

Both case studies show that diagonal IPA overcomes two limitations of original IPA, in terms of IPA's failure to address: the high correlation between stated importance and customer satisfaction and the non-linear relationship between attribute performance and customers’ satisfaction. However, diagonal IPA is unable to identify the possible impact of incremental innovations on customer satisfaction. Thus, IGA is formulated to overcome both the problems with original IPA and the limitation of diagonal IPA.

Research limitations/implications

The new method, IGA, uses expected customer dissatisfaction as a measure of attribute relevance. Its relationship with other methods used to evaluate attribute importance should be studied in the future.

Originality/value

The paper presents a new method (IGA) that is able to overcome problems of original and diagonal IPA methods and is also able to identify the possible impact of incremental innovations on customer satisfaction.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2016

Li-Hsing Ho, Pi-Yun Chang and Tieh-Min Yen

The purpose of this paper is to propose a modified Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) model and calculates the performance of quality characteristic for the purpose of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a modified Importance-Performance Analysis (IPA) model and calculates the performance of quality characteristic for the purpose of defining quality improvement strategy.

Design/methodology/approach

This study developed modified IPA by introducing the Mahalanobis Distance and multiple regression analysis to evaluate the performance gap and implicit importance of quality characteristics. This paper used a large air-conditioning manufacturer in Taiwan as the case analysis and study targets. It discussed and validated the modified IPA analytical results by studying case history and market analysis.

Findings

Through the case study, the quality characteristics of air-conditioning product and service needed to be improved immediately are Green product (Q3) and Repair service (Q10), and the Price (Q11) and Serviceability (Q2) could be kept or enhanced to win the market competitive advantages.

Originality/value

This study developed a modified IPA to help organization identifying key quality characteristics of product and service, and choosing its improvement strategies to win the market competitive advantages effectively.

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Article
Publication date: 22 August 2008

Yu‐Cheng Lee, Tieh‐Min Yen and Chih‐Hung Tsai

Importance performance analysis (IPA) is a technique widely used to assist organisations in developing marketing strategies and improving products or service quality. Many…

Abstract

Purpose

Importance performance analysis (IPA) is a technique widely used to assist organisations in developing marketing strategies and improving products or service quality. Many scholars have revised IPA to augment its effectiveness. However, this involves some unknown problems that could lead organisations to make wrong decisions. This paper aims to look at this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

As a solution, this paper introduces Taguchi's signal‐to‐noise (S/N) ratio approach to treat ordered categorical data in analysing customer satisfaction and integrates it with gap analysis (GA) through S/N ratio to develop a modified IPA model. A Taiwan air‐conditioning manufacturer maintenance and repair service is illustrated to demonstrate the method.

Findings

According to the test case, the modified IPA model obtained more reliable results than the traditional IPA method, considering the central tendency and variance from different customer perceptions. The proposed method can determine exact marketing strategies and improvement directions for product or service quality attributes, reduce variance and (or) move performance to the target value.

Originality/value

This model overcomes the limitations of the traditional IPA model while retaining the merits of the traditional model. Using the modified IPA model an organisation can define its marketing strategies and take action to establish quality improvement activities. In other words, the organisation can avoid making wrong decisions when using the modified IPA model.

Details

The TQM Journal, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2731

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Article
Publication date: 16 October 2007

Tzung‐Cheng (T.C.) Huan and Jay Beaman

Conceptual aspects of this research aim to review issues and to introduce new ways to employ importanceperformance analysis (IPA), also called action‐grid analysis (AGA)…

Abstract

Purpose

Conceptual aspects of this research aim to review issues and to introduce new ways to employ importanceperformance analysis (IPA), also called action‐grid analysis (AGA), in formulating valid research. The purpose of the exercises is facilitating understanding how a variety of matters are important for research being valid.

Design/methodology/approach

IPA/AGA, different types of IPA/AGA, and validity issues for these are introduced. Pursuing two types of IPA/AGA, based on different assumptions and thus distinct validity criteria, reinforces the need for new thinking regarding valid applications of IPA/AGA. Practically oriented training exercises reinforce understanding concepts introduced. Possible answers to exercises encourage thinking about matters that directly affect validity of actual research.

Findings

Unless IPA/AGA research is well conceived, properly executed, and soundly analysed, implications derived may be misleading. Training exercises show the reader values and pitfalls of considering IPA/AGA in formulating practically oriented research.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the research is that detail results are only presented for two of at least five types of IPA/AGA.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the overall understanding of the valid use of IPA/AGA as a tool in research. The paper also facilitates using IPA/AGA in teaching about research.

Details

International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 1 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6182

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Article
Publication date: 25 April 2008

Wei‐Jaw Deng

The purpose of this paper is to propose a novel approach of fuzzy importanceperformance analysis (FIPA) to replace conventional importanceperformance analysis (IPA) for…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a novel approach of fuzzy importanceperformance analysis (FIPA) to replace conventional importanceperformance analysis (IPA) for determining critical service attributes those really need to improve for achieving superior customer satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

First, referring numerous studies, conventional IPA has some erroneous assumptions, the customer satisfaction of attribute performance has the characteristic of three‐factor theory and the novel approach which integrates natural logarithmic transformation and partial correlation analysis is feasible for acquiring the implicitly derived importance of attributes. Second, according the fact and nature of fuzziness in human perception, this study applies fuzzy set theory to revise conventional IPA. Finally, the FIPA is proposed and subsequently implemented in a Taiwanese hot spring hotel case study.

Findings

The implementation of FIPA shows the determined critical service attributes are almost completely different from those attributes acquired by conventional IPA. Hence, the application of conventional IPA may cause practitioners make incorrect decisions of improvement priorities for service attributes and direct unsuitable quality‐based marketing strategies.

Originality/value

The proposed FIPA which integrates fuzzy set theory, three‐factor theory, partial correlation analysis and natural logarithmic transformation avoids the erroneous assumptions of conventional IPA, considers the nature of fuzziness in human perception and includes the actual importance of service attributes. Therefore, the proposed FIPA can effectively assist business managers in determining critical service attributes to improve service quality or customer satisfaction and to achieve competitive advantage.

Details

International Journal of Service Industry Management, vol. 19 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0956-4233

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Article
Publication date: 10 July 2017

Fraser McLeay, Andrew Robson and Mazirah Yusoff

The constantly evolving higher education (HE) sector is creating a need for new business models and tools for evaluating performance. In this paper, an overview of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The constantly evolving higher education (HE) sector is creating a need for new business models and tools for evaluating performance. In this paper, an overview of the importance-performance analysis (IPA) model and its applicability as a management tool for assessing student satisfaction in the HE sector is provided. The purpose of this paper is to apply IPA in a new and novel manner, undertaking analysis at three levels; the individual student, for individual attributes and at a construct or factor level which combines individual attributes that are correlated. A practical application is illustrated, assessing the gap between the importance placed on specific student satisfaction attributes and corresponding levels of student-perceived performance realised.

Design/methodology/approach

The “service product bundle” (Douglas et al., 2006) is refined based on focus group evaluation. Survey responses from 823 students studying across four Malaysian private universities are analysed using factor analysis and the IPA model utilised to identify importance-performance gaps and explore the implication of the iso-rating line as well as alternative cut-off zones.

Findings

Factor reduction of 33 original measurement items results in eight definable areas of service provision, which provides a refined and extended management tool of statistically reliable and valid constructs.

Research limitations/implications

The research is undertaken in a private business school context in Malaysia. Further research could focus on other universities or countries, as well as faculties such as computing and engineering or explore other elements of education-based performance.

Practical implications

The research method and study outcomes can support HE managers to allocate resources more effectively and develop strategies to improve quality and increase student satisfaction.

Originality/value

Distinct from other IPA-based studies, analysis is undertaken at three levels; the individual participant, for individual items and at the factor level.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 36 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2007

Gérson Tontini and Amélia Silveira

To analyze the limitations of two methods used in the identification of satisfaction attributes in products and services – importance performance analysis (IPA) and Kano…

Abstract

Purpose

To analyze the limitations of two methods used in the identification of satisfaction attributes in products and services – importance performance analysis (IPA) and Kano method – and to propose a new method for identification of improvement opportunities based on the competitive analysis of the improvement gap.

Design/methodology/approach

A case analyzing attributes of the service “rodizio de pizzas” a kind of pizzeria found in Brazil, was used to illustrate the proposed method. Resulting from a focus group, four attributes, one of them being an innovation, were specifically chosen to include the different categories of the Kano model: basic, performance and excitement attributes. A survey was conducted with a random sample of 110 undergraduate students that eat regularly at pizzerias.

Findings

As a major limitation, IPA leads to different conclusions depending on how an attribute's importance is figured. Also, it does not take into consideration the non‐linear relationship between the performance of the attributes and customer satisfaction, possibly misleading improvement decisions and hindering the introduction of innovations. The Kano method identifies the non‐linear relationship between performance and satisfaction, but it does not take into consideration the current level of attributes' performance in the analysis. The proposed method successfully identified improvement opportunities in a service case, including the possible impact of including a new attribute, i.e. an innovative attribute, overcoming limitations of the IPA and of the Kano method.

Originality/value

The paper provides an intuitive and simple method that correctly identified improvement decisions in the case studied, including the introduction of an incremental innovation.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 27 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

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Article
Publication date: 21 June 2011

Alessandro Arbore and Bruno Busacca

Importanceperformance analysis (IPA) is a simple marketing tool commonly used to identify the main strengths and weaknesses of a value proposition. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

Importanceperformance analysis (IPA) is a simple marketing tool commonly used to identify the main strengths and weaknesses of a value proposition. The purpose of this paper is to propose a revision of traditional IPA prompted by intuitions arising from the three‐factor theory of customer satisfaction. The ultimate goal is to propose a decision support method, which is as simple and intuitive as the original IPA, but more precise and reliable than the solutions proposed thus far.

Design/methodology/approach

In order to estimate indirect measures of attribute importance, the study uses the coefficients of a multiple regression with overall satisfaction ratings as the dependent variable. Additional calculations are then introduced in order to manage non‐linear effects.

Findings

Using empirical data from a survey among 5,209 customers of a European bank, the authors show how the proposed method can be more accurate than other solutions, especially as disregarding non‐linear effects can prompt sub‐optimal marketing decisions.

Research limitations/implications

While the procedure in this study is applicable to any service business, the paper does not claim external validity for the numerical results of the empirical application: the authors acknowledge that only one dataset has been used. The authors' goal is merely to demonstrate a revised approach to IPA.

Originality/value

First, the authors assert the need for an explicit distinction between the use of IPA for customer acquisition vs customer retention purposes. These two cases refer to distinct moments in the customer relationship life cycle and thus require separate analyses. The authors then propose a specific method for customer retention IPA. On this basis, they generate two priority charts: one for the purpose of maximizing customer satisfaction and one for the purpose of minimizing customer dissatisfaction.

Details

Journal of Service Management, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-5818

Keywords

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